February 24, 2023
A force of the 1990s roots-reggae renaissance, The Firehouse Crew played on countless songs during that decade, when they were linked with producer Philip “Fatis” Burrell.
This evening, they reach into their archives at Junior Reid’s Friday Night Live in The City event, staged at the singer’s 39B Eastwood Park Road venue. They will back Luciano and Mikey General, who were members of Burrell’s Xterminator Records camp, as well as Jahbar I, Leego, McKada, and Jayden.
George “Dusty” Miller, the Firehouse Crew’s drummer and band leader, told the Jamaica Observer that although the quartet has not toured for 15 years, they still do recording sessions together.
“Individually, we do other things but we talk every day and whenever we get in the studio it’s always fun,” he said.
The other members of Firehouse Crew are bassist Donald “Danny Bassie” Dennis, guitarist Mitchum “Khan” Chin, and keyboardist Paul “Wrongmove” Crossdale.
Miller currently oversees the career of his son, Jahbar I; Dennis tours with Protoje; while Chin is a member of Buju Banton’s band. Crossdale is one of the Jamaican music scene’s busiest session players.
When Reid approached them recently about performing at his weekly gig, they were ready to roll.
“We went up there a few times and thought it would be nice to build a vibes for the last Friday in Reggae Month,” said Miller.
The Firehouse Crew formed in 1986 with Miller, Dennis and Crossdale. Miller is from the Waltham Park area of Kingston while Dennis and London-born Crossdale grew up in Olympic Gardens.
Initially, Crossdale played guitar but when singer Little John took them to engineer/producer Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock’s studio in Waterhouse, Crossdale switched to keyboards. Chin, the only member who is from Waterhouse, joined in 1987.
The first hit song they played on was Ninja mi Ninja by Courtney Melody, followed by Hopeton Lindo’s Territory. While with Ruddock, the fledgling band also backed Anthony Red Rose, Wayne Wonder and Singing Melody.
They moved to Burrell’s camp after being introduced to the producer by Mikey General, one of the artistes in the bubbling roots-reggae revival. At Xterminator Records, the Firehouse Crew played on a flurry of songs including Hotstepper (Ini Kamoze), Green Green Grass of Home and Amazing Grace (Sanchez), and Where There is Life, the powerful 1995 album by Luciano.
The Firehouse is working on their second album which will feature Junior Reid, Luciano, Jahbar I and Crossdale on vocals.
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